Some of the greatest anime have the topics and hardships of war, action, and violence.
It’s hard to have a war without avoiding the military side of the battles.
Whether the military gives the MC a purpose to stay in the war or a reason to see the world’s corruption, these series bring out the worthwhile and dark topics of the trauma and why we live.
- Best War and Military Anime
- 30. Izetta: The Last Witch
- 29. 07-Ghost
- 28. God Eater
- 27. Dragon Pilot: Hisone and Masotan
- 26. Gunslinger Girl
- 25. Aldnoah.Zero
- 24. Library Wars
- 23. Seraph of the End
- 22. Girls & Panzer
- 21. Sound of the Sky
- 20. Valkyria Chronicles
- 19. The Princess and the Pilot
- 18. Full Metal Panic!
- 17. Now and Then, Here and There
- 16. Blood+
- 15. Broken Blade 1: Kakusei no Toki
- 14. Xam’d: Lost Memories
- 13. GATE
- 12. Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade
- 11. Macross
- 10. Porco Rosso
- 9. Saga of Tanya the Evil
- 8. Akira
- 7. 86: Eighty-Six
- 6. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
- 5. Berserk (1997)
- 4. Attack on Titan
- 3. Violet Evergarden
- 2. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
- 1. Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood
Best War and Military Anime
30. Izetta: The Last Witch
Taking place in an alternate world on the brink of World War II, 15-year-old Princess Ortfiné “Finé” von Eylstadt is captured by Germanian soldiers on her way to a meeting with Britannia.
However, Finé is saved by Izetta, the survivor of the last clan of witches who Finé recognizes from her childhood.
With the two friends’ unexpected reunion, Izetta vows to use her magic to protect Finé and stop the world from breaking out into another world war!
15-year-old Teito Klein was once a slave with amnesia—now he is a student at Barsburg Empire’s Military Academy.
It’s here that he and the others train to fight for their empire through a special ability called “Zaiphon.”
Despite his unknown past, Teito is a soldier with unique potential and is noticed by classmate Mikage, and the two quickly become friends.
However, when a high-ranking official is almost assassinated, it’s Teito that they blame and lock him up.
Luckily, he has Mikage, who helps him escape and take refuge in the 7th District Church.
In hiding, Teito is determined to discover the truth behind the military, the assassination attempt, and what it all has to do with his missing memories.
28. God Eater
In the year 2071, monsters called “Aragami” have humanity on the edge of extinction. Invulnerable to mankind’s conventional weapons, a group known as Fenrir was created to combat the Aragami and save humanity.
They are “God Eaters,” humans infused with the power of the God Arc through Oracle cells.
They are the only ones capable of combating and killing Aragami, and Fenrir’s secret weapon is the new God Eater, 15-year-old Lenka Utsugi.
He is determined to destroy the Aragami once and for all!
27. Dragon Pilot: Hisone and Masotan
Hisone Amakasu is a rookie in the Japan Air Self-Defense Force who becomes stationed at the Gifu airbase.
It’s here that she discovers the Organic Transformed Flyer (OTF), a dragon with the ability to take to the sky and camouflage itself.
Hisone accidentally is chosen by the OTF to be his new pilot and her destiny as the new Dragon Pilot.
With the dragons being the key to the world’s future, Hisone must work with her dragon, pilot cadets, and her inner demons to discover her potential as a Dragon Pilot and the secrets she can unlock together with her OTF.
26. Gunslinger Girl
The Social Welfare Agency, which dwells in the center of Italy, rescues young, ill, and crippled girls and a second chance at life by giving them cybernetic advancements.
Unfortunately, after that, the girls are brainwashed by the Agency and turned into assassins for the dark and corrupted side of the government.
Paired up with “handlers,” the girls much kill without question by their heartless handlers, who will push them to their limits and shorten their life spans.
Yet, even though they have been turned into merciless weapons, they are still children who want to be loved and happy despite being turned into killers.
Humanity finally makes it to Mars, some stay on Earth, and the rest break off from the “Terrans,” calling themselves the Vers Empire of Mars.
The two sides clash, causing them to destroy the Moon and cease their war, but their truce extremely fragile.
15-years-later, Princess Asseylum Vers Allusia from the Vers Empire comes to Earth to restore their relationship with the Terrans.
This ends in her own assassination that high school Inaho Kaizuka sees with his own eyes.
With the death of their princess, the war begins again, and Inaho and his friends set out to fight against the Vers Empire and finally end the war in Princess Asseylum’s name.
24. Library Wars
When the Media Enhancement Law censored books and media, the Library Task Force was formed to protect libraries, books, and freedom of speech.
23-year-old Iku Kasahara is the first woman soldier to be a part of the Library Task Force.
Iku is ready for war, what she was not ready for was the comedy and the romance that comes with it as she works side-by-side with teammates to protect important novels and records from their enemy: the Media Enhancement Law Commission.
23. Seraph of the End
When a manmade virus wipes out all of humanity over the age of thirteen, vampires came out of hiding and took over the world.
They took all the children to harvest for their young blood.
It’s the blood the vampires want, and it’s their blood that keeps the children alive through donating it to the vampires who provide protection to them in exchange.
12-year-old orphan Yuichiro Hyakuya and his best friend Mikaela can’t live this kind of empty life and plan an escape along with the rest of the orphans.
It ends in all of their deaths and Mikaela sacrificing himself so Yuichiro can survive. He manages to get out and is saved by the Japanese Imperial Demon Army.
Now at 16-years-old, Yuichiro fights as a vengeful soldier to kill every last vampire, but what if one of those vampires was a dear friend he believed to be dead?
22. Girls & Panzer
Miho Nishizumi’s family are all senshadou masters—an elimination-based sport using World War II tanks.
But after a traumatic event, Miho retires young from senshadou and cuts ties with the rest of her family.
To stay as far away from senshadou as possible, Miho transfers to Ooarai Girls High School, where the sport is banned.
However, when the school is on the verge of closure, a group of classmates manages to revive the game and win the championships to save their school.
They push Miho to join them, too, and now she must face her past and fears on the battlefield of victory or loss while discovering what’s more important.
21. Sound of the Sky
After hearing a trumpeter of the army play in a post-apocalyptic world, 15-year-old Kanata Sorami becomes inspired to join the military to fulfill her dream of becoming a bugler.
She ends up in the peaceful town of Seize in the 1121st Platoon of the Helvetian army.
It’s here that Kanata meets her Sergeant Major, Rio Kazumiya, Captain Felicia Heideman, fierce Kureha Suminoya, and mechanic Noël Kananagi.
With the war-making, their hope crumbles, the group leans on each other to still find the beauty in the world and help Kanata find the trumpeter that encouraged her to follow her passion.
20. Valkyria Chronicles
When the European Imperial Alliance attacks the Principality of Gallia, siblings Welkin and Isara Gunther will defend their peaceful home.
With the leader of the military at their side, they form Squad Seven to run the Imperial out of their country.
Although neither have experience the harshness and cruelty of war before, Welkin and Isara are determined to save their people, but will their home to worth fighting for when ancient secrets of Gallia surface?
19. The Princess and the Pilot
The Levamme Empire and the Amatsukmai Imperium have been at war with each other for years.
One day, the Levamme Empire’s prince confesses his love for the silver-haired Juana del Moral and accepts if he promises to stop the war in one year.
The Amatsukami attack Juana’s home, trying to end her life. To get the would-be princess safely to her love, the San Maltilia Airforce gives the daunting task to the pilot ace with mixed blood Charles Karino.
Surrounded by the ocean and the enemy, Charles has to find a way to secretly fly Juana into Levamme and put an end to this war.
18. Full Metal Panic!
17-year-old Sousuke Sagara is a part of a military organization known as Mithril that fights all threats and terrorism against world peace.
They fight using the power called the “Whispered”: people with insightful knowledge and abilities to create powerful machinery.
Sousuke moves to Japan along with fellow members Kurz Weber and Melissa Mao to protect a Whispered girl, a high schooler named Kaname Chidori. They transfer to her school, and Sousuke ends up getting close to Kaname.
As the two grow closer, Sousuke begins to wonder what is so special about Kaname and why she’s begin targeted by enemy organizations.
17. Now and Then, Here and There
11-year-old Shuzo “Shu” Matsutani has always lived a normal life of peace.
He has friends, family, and a deep passion for kendo. Shu wouldn’t change a thing about his life.
This all changes when he finds a strange girl with blue hair and a weird pendant around her neck. He wants to befriend her but barely gets out her name before a woman with strange twisted-looking machines captures Lala-Ru.
Trying to protect this mysterious girl, Shu ends up getting sucked into another world—a world that looks like a giant desert!
Shu has no idea how to get home and what to do with Lala-Ru, who lost her pendant that had been giving the power to summon and control water.
Saya Otonashi is an ordinary girl living in Okinawa City whose only chip on her shoulder is that she’s adopted.
In truth, she has anemia: a condition that makes her tired and weak. On top of that, she suffers from amnesia.
Whether Saya wants is or not, her past is going to find her. She is attacked on her way home from school by a creature craving human blood.
Saya is saved by a man named Haji, but is told that she has to drink his blood if she wants to survive. Saya easily slays the creature using her own blood as a weapon!
Now Saya and Haji work together as a team to fight against these blood-thirsty creatures and hopefully learn Saya’s forgotten past.
15. Broken Blade 1: Kakusei no Toki
25-year-old Rugart Arrow is an “un-sorcerer,” unlike the people of Cruzon, he can’t control quartz.
Regardless, he is great friends with the people of Krisna and Athens. Hodr and Sigyn are the future king and queen and the youngest brother of the Athens Commonwealth’s Secretary of War, Zess.
When a war breaks out between the two nations, Rygart joins the fight not to choose sides but to mend them.
With his un-sorcerer abilities, Rygart can pilot the ancient Golem and use it to unite the nations instead of dividing them before any blood is shed.
14. Xam’d: Lost Memories
Akiyuki Takehara lives on the small island of Sentan Island with his mother.
They are surrounded by the Yuden Sea that cuts them off from the war between the Northern Government and the Southern Continent Free Zone.
One day, Akiyuki and his best friends, Haru Nishimura and Furuichi Teraoka, get caught in an explosion that involves a strange girl with white-colored hair named Nazuna.
The explosion creates a mysterious light that enters Akiyuki’s arm, causing him pain before a blue gem appears.
Guided by Nazuna, Akiyuki transforms into a creature called Xam’d. With this new power, Nazuna tells Akiyuki that he has to make a choice: join her to live or stay and die.
While off-duty attending a doujin convention, a 33-year-old officer and otaku Youji Itami find themselves in front of a mysterious gate that appears in the middle of Ginza, Tokyo.
The gate is a portal, and supernatural creatures and medieval warriors come out, killing and destroying everything in their paths!
Youji survives the attack and now leads the Special Region recon team tasked with entering the portal gate.
They travel through and end up in another world and attempt to make contact with the ruling empire to make peace with them. Youji knows if they fail, a war humans can never win is heading straight to them!
12. Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade
Taking place in an alternate world after World War II, Japan is trying to post-war recover from the 1950 bombings.
In the midst, Kazuki Fuse is a soldier and member of a counter-terrorism unit and sees the worst sides of humanity.
One day, he fails to stop a young terrorist from completing a suicide bombing that causes horrific damage to Tokyo that ends with Kazuki being reprimanded.
After being re-evaluated, he visits the dead girl’s grave, and that’s where he meets Kei Amemiya, the bomber’s elder sister.
They develop a friendship that causes Kazuki to discover the corruption of the world, his government, and the future of all of Japan!
Humanity isn’t the only living life form in the universe. They discover this when an alien spaceship crashes on Earth.
Although they’re afraid of what’s out there, they are also equally curious and decide to repurpose the spaceship. They dub it the SDF-1 Macross.
However, the day the Macross was going to take flight, an army of spaceships appears to show up to reclaim that spacecraft.
The race is known as the Zentradi land on Earth, and the Macross attacks the fleet on its own. Bad first impression.
This sparks a full-on war. When the Macross tries to escape, it teleports into deep space along with the city it was in and its entire people!
10. Porco Rosso
When a curse turns him into a pig, Marco Pagot goes from World War I ace to bounty hunter Porco Rosso.
He spends his days taking down sky pirates, collecting bounties, and visiting the beautiful Gina of the Hotel Adriano.
One day, Porco Rosso is shot down by Donald Curtis, an American hotshot who goes off states that Porco Rosso is dead.
Porco Rosso survives and finds an airplane company and takes out a loan from them to repair his plane and regain his honor by challenging Donald.
9. Saga of Tanya the Evil
In Japan, an atheist salaryman is murdered by an employee he fired. In his death, the man is challenged by an entity that claims to be God and criticizes the man for having no faith. Even faced with “God,” the man refuses to believe.
The entity settles for reincarnating the man into another world where he will have to pray to God for help.
The man is reborn as Tanya Degurechaff, a young soldier nicknamed the “Devil of the Rhine” for her ruthless and cold-blooded nature in combat despite having a doll-like appearance.
In an alternate world of World War I, Tanya battles “God” to a battle of wits: if she doesn’t die of natural causes or refuse faith, her soul will be sent to hell!
In an alternate Japan in 1988, a young with psychic powers destroys Tokyo and sets off a chain of events that would cause World War III. Eventually, he was captured and never seen again.
The year is now 2019, and Tokyo has become a city of terrorism and gang violence known as Neo Tokyo. 17-year-old Shotaro Kaneda lives here and leads a motorcycle gang with his best friend Tetsuo Shima and is in constant conflict with rival gangs.
One day, Shotaro and Tetsuo cross paths with an esper who managed to escape a government organization. Through meeting this strange esper, Tetsuo starts to gain powers as well.
The government will not allow him or these psychic abilities to be released onto the city again and go to desperate measures.
7. 86: Eighty-Six
The war against the Giadian Empire and the Republic of San Magnolia has never resulted in death. This is the half-truth of war.
The people of the Republic don’t care—they are protected and live safe lives.
But the ones that are “different” are sent to a secret faction known as Eighty-Six, who are forced to fight under the military against the empire.
16-year-old Vladilena Milizé is the new commander of the Eighty-Six and is honored to help them fight against the discrimination they face.
Vladilens begins to fight side-by-side with Eighty-Six’s captain, Shinei Nouzen, the sole survivor of his last squad.
Will these two lives be able to come together and lead the light of hope through the darkness of war?
6. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
In the future, humanity has the advancements to transplant a body of flesh into machine.
This results in great good as well as a great evil. Cybernetics has to lead to dangerous crimes and causes the Japanese government to create Section 9, a police unit that deals with technological and cybernetic crimes.
Daisuke Aramaki and Motoko Kusanagi are chosen to lead Section 9 and quickly find themselves facing a dangerously intelligent hacker known as “The Laughing Man.”
Section 9 gets caught up in the hacker’s twisted cat and mouse game and could cause the destruction of Japan!
5. Berserk (1997)
Set in the medieval era, Guts is welcomed into the world in the middle of a battlefield where he is the sole survivor.
Death and bloodshed are all he knows, and he lives day-to-day fighting to live and leaving a path of blood where he goes.
One day, Guts encounters the Band of the Hawk, and their leader, Griffith, takes a liking to Guts.
He quickly moves through the ranks and becomes a vital asset to Griffith, but as Guts continues fighting for the Band of the Hawk, he soon realizes the world is more morally grey than he first thought.
4. Attack on Titan
15-year-old Eren Yeager, his adopted sister Mikasa Ackerman, and his best friend Armin Arlet live in a world surrounded by a wall.
On the other side, a giant humanoid monster known as Titans wait—ready to wipe out the human race like they tried to do centuries before.
Eren, his friends, and his family live in ignorant bliss from that part of the world until one day, a gigantic Titan appears and breaks down the wall!
Eren can no longer avoid humanity’s greatest threat and joins Mikasa and Armin in a military unit called the Survey Corps to destroy every last Titan once and for all!
3. Violet Evergarden
Violet was a soldier that survived the Great War but lost both of her arms and Major Gilbert, her only reason for living.
With her only purpose to fight the enemy, Violet doesn’t know what to do with herself and is haunted by Major Gilbert’s dying words to her.
Violet ends up at CH Postal Services that she begins her work as an “Auto Memory Doll,” a ghostwriter for other people’s feelings, thoughts, and dreams.
Violet takes on her new purpose to change her clients’ lives and work through her past trauma, self-worth and discovering the meaning of Major Gilbert’s last words: I love you.
2. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
The military of the Holy Empire of Britannia wants to show themselves to the rest of the world. They begin their power-hungry rampage by trying to conquer Japan.
They won’t go down without a fight—a fight that catches Britannian student Lelouch Lamperouge in the crossfire.
He is saved by a mysterious girl with long, bright green hair that gifts him the Power of Kings: Geass and the “power of absolute obedience.”
With these new powers under his control, Lelouch becomes the masked vigilante Zero and leads a rebellion against the ruthless Britannia.
1. Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood
As kids, Edward and Alphonse Elric try to use alchemy to bring their mother back to life and perform its greatest taboo: human transmutation.
When the ritual goes wrong, Edward pays with his leg, and his little brother loses his entire body.
Edward sacrifices his arm to bring back Alphonse’s soul and places it inside a suit of armor.
With a new metal arm and leg, Edward joins the military as a state alchemist known as the Fullmetal Alchemist to get both bodies back with a new metal arm and leg.
Through the military, Edward and Alphonse hope to find a Philosopher’s Stone, the only thing that can turn them back to normal.
Unfortunately, neither brother is known where their questions will lead them and the secret plot against their whole country they will uncover.